Rethinking Boosterism in the 'City of Quartz'
Part of a year-long series looking at books focused on Los Angeles, this review looks at the ways Davis' work countered the "mindless boosterism" that had pervaded thought about the city for the preceding century.
"[F]or all its polemicism,"City of Quartz," the 12th title in our Reading L.A. series, is without question the most significant book on Los Angeles urbanism to appear since Reyner Banham's "Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies" was published in 1971. It deserves its reputation as one of the three most important treatments of that subject ever written, joining "Four Ecologies" and Carey McWilliams' 1946 book "Southern California: An Island on the Land." Though Davis' "Ecology of Fear," which appeared in 1999 and explored the inseparable links between Southern California and natural disaster, was a surprisingly potent follow-up, no book about Los Angeles since "Quartz" has mattered as much."